Local family navigates remote learning together

St. Charles family learning together during pandemic

ST. CHARLES – St. Charles North High School freshman Michaela Olson had just switched to all remote learning before being told by St. Charles School Dist. 303 leaders that the entire district will be going to all remote learning starting on Nov. 30 in response to a surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the county.

She previously had been doing a blend of in-person and remote learning. Olson and her fellow students are on Thanksgiving break this week.

In light of the recent surge, the Kane County Health Department has asked all Kane County school districts to move to full remote learning until at least Dec. 4 and that athletics and other school activities also be suspended as well. Dist. 303 school board members decided on an option for students to participate in full remote instruction from Nov. 30 through Dec. 18.

Students will be on winter break starting Dec. 21 and school will be back in session on Jan. 5. In addition to St. Charles School Dist. 303, Batavia, Geneva and Kaneland school districts either have or will be switching to all remote learning.

Olson was an eighth-grader at Wredling Middle School last spring. She thinks remote learning is going better now then it did at the start of the pandemic in March.

"I just think the teaching program is a lot better now," she said. "They didn't have a lot of time to plan it before."

If they need help with their studies, Olson and her fellow students are able to talk to their teachers via Zoom and Google Meet. Her sister, Lorelai Olson, 12, a sixth-grader at Wredling Middle School, has been doing a hybrid of in-person and remote learning.

She was glad to be back in a classroom this fall after being away since March because of the pandemic.

"It was really nice to actually be able to interact with people," Lorelai said. "I missed being able to work together with my friends."

Although she doesn't mind working from home, she admitted it can be distracting at times, such as when her 2-year-old brother Timothy wants to have a tea party with her while she is trying to work on an assignment.

And doing remote learning alongside her siblings is not a problem because they have staked our their own areas in the house. In addition, they help each other out.

'We each can have our own area to work in, so I don't think that's really a problem," Lorelai said. "And it's nice because I have both a youngster sister and older sister, and so I can help my younger sister and my older sister can help me."

Her sister, third-grade student Arabella Olson, has been doing remote learning. Their mom, Briann Olson, has a teaching background, which has proven to be helpful.

"I can help," she said. "I know kind of how the routine should be. That's what we did starting in March. They're all really self motivated kids anyway, so I don't really have to be on them. They know it's their responsibility."

And the situation has brought the family closer together. Her husband also works from home.

"I love having them home," she said. "I get a bunch of bonus time with kids who are going to leave me eventually to go to college."